Venice of the North. Brugge

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Brugge or Bruges is one very very popular among foreign tourists and travelers from all over the world destination in Belgium.

What attracts all these tourists from overseas and continents to this place in Belgium?

There are many places to visit and foods to try.  Others are admiring the beauty of the ancient architecture that was preserved beautifully and listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2000). Some other people will be more into crafting and fashion and/or design items. I’m sure that there you’ll find buildings, things or try foods that you’ll remember over years 🙂

Now, let me unfold my story about this city and tell you what was my experience in Brugge.

I liked most of the places we have visited. I will stop only to some of them 🙂

  • Church of Our Lady. This church has one of the world’s highest brick towers – its brick spire reaches 122.3 m. In this church visitors can see Michelangelo’s sculpture Madonna and Child. This sculpture is believed to be Michelangelo’s only sculpture to have left Italy within his lifetime.
  • The Belfry. This is a 13th century tower, housing a municipal carillon comprising 48 bells.
  • Water canals and houses along these water canals. Some of the houses date back to the 13th, 14th centuries. While walking in the old town, you’ll see the significant stages in the commercial and cultural fields in medieval Europe, of which the public, social and religious institutions are a living testimony.
  • Shops that sell handmade lace and wooden toys are places to visit. Brugge is the capital of LACE, check some of the shops, maybe you’ll find something that will catch your eyes. The handmade lace is very expensive… be prepared to see prices of hundreds of euros and more 🙂 Also, this can be a source of inspiration, for those in the field 😉
  • The Minnewater Castle. This castle, I have found pages where this castle was called summer residence or summer restaurant, is placed in the Minnewater park.
  • Minnewater Park is a very nice park and somewhere at the beginning of the water canal that links the park with the old town, there’s a place reserved for swans, ducks and geese. All these birds are accustomed with the noise and crowds, thus if you want to take pictures with / of them then you’ll need to give them some food….just make sure you feed these birds with seeds or bread. Also, in order to avoid any trouble, please check the fence for any signs that will forbid the feeding. When we were there we haven’t seen such signs, but this doesn’t mean that they cannot be hanged there at a later date 🙂
  • The Basilica of Holy Blood. It’s a very beautiful little church. You are allowed to take pictures inside, but without flash. If you want to take pictures in this small church, then I’ll suggest you to go there in the late morning and early afternoon, otherwise it will be a bit too dark to take pictures without flash.

In Brugge are two main squares and it’s almost impossible to miss them. They are called: Burg and the Grand Place. Burg square represents the symbol of the alliance of religious and civic authorities, as well as the seat of several public institutions, including the dispensing of justice. The Grand Place is the site of the halls, the belfry and the Waterhalle, symbolizing municipal autonomy.

Because of the water canals that were built some hundreds of years ago, Bruges is called the little Venice of Belgium or the Venice of the North. The resemblance is there and the feeling is there too. If you have been to Venice and then go to Bruges, for sure you’ll have the feeling of being in Italy and not in Belgium 🙂

There’s a nice movie about this town, a nice comedy with Colin Farrell. Some of the tourists I have met back in 2009 in Antwerp watched this movie and went to Bruges just to see the places seen in the movie 🙂 The link to one of the videos that you can find on internet is here.

I will recommend to take a boat ride, it is very informing, fast and not very expensive, it will cost you 7.5 euro/person for about 40-50 minutes. There are some other options to the boat ride: to hire a one-horse gig for 40 euro or to take a tour bus for 15 euro. The gig has 4 places, therefore you can split the price 🙂

Another thing that you may find interesting is the show held at the information touristic office in the Grand Place. Tickets can be bought on the place, but I don’t know if you can make a reservation for a later date. The price is 22 euro per person, but during this show you’ll learn most of the history of the place. We had no time for this show, but next time in Bruges we’ll not miss it for sure.

Where to eat?

Some of the must try lunches, especially for tourists on budget and travelers are the fries that are sold in the Grand Place. The shops are green and sell other foods as well, but I will recommend to try their fries with some exotic sauces 🙂 We had fries with Samurai sauce and one with cheese. Both good, but I liked more Samurai sauce, because of its spiciness!

If fries seem to little or too simple, then you can try some other local food, such as: the hearty carbonnade flamandes (Flemish beef stew), mosselen-frites (mussels and chips), Belgian endive and white asparagus. For sweet lovers, I will recommend to try hot chocolate, warm waffles dusted with icing sugar or any other topping of your preference. For beer lovers, this is a paradise! I have found an interesting post about beer in Brugge and I considered appropriate to share this info with you . For more information about where and how much a beer will cost you in Bruges, please go here.

Where to sleep?

We were traveling by car and this made our journey easier. For this trip we wanted to try something new, for us and this is why we decided to stop at hotel F1 Roubaix centre. This hotel is a better option than a hostel, but a worse than a classic hotel. The difference is that you have a room for yourself, but the rest of the commodities you’ll have to share with the other guests.
If you book one room online (for 1,2 or 3 ppl) , then you’ll 24 euro/night/room!!!! If you go at the reception and take a room, then the price will be 39 euro for the same room.
Another mention here, if you’re looking for a cheap place to sleep, then this is perfect, but only if you’re traveling by car.

Two more thing before I go:

  1. If you’re in Brugge on Saturday or on Sunday and sometime between March and October then you must visit the flea market. It is a big one and people here sell diverse things : furniture, paintings, collectable toys, coins, wooden items, ceramic, silver and more. The best orientation for you will be the train station and the Minnerwater park.
  2. Try to find the spy window and discover its story 🙂

Travel safe and wise!

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